State veterinary & animal husbandry department has directed all egg producers in Nagaland to stop starving laying hens to force them into a molt.
This directive comes following March 2011 order of the Animal Welfare Board of India which had directed all poultry farms in the country to immediately discontinue starvation force molt regimes; as such practice was in violation of India’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and is a punishable offence.
“Humane society international is grateful to government of Nagaland,” said N.G. Jayasimha, manager of HSI’s factory farming campaign in India. “Farmers who continue to starve birds to induce molt should be prosecuted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960,” it said. Reportedly starvation force molting, widely practiced on egg production facilities throughout India, deprives egg-laying hens of food in order to manipulate their laying cycles.
Food is often withheld for up to 14 days and may be combined with one or two days of water deprivation.
During a force molt, hens suffer greatly and may lose up to 35 percent of their body weight. This practice of food withdrawal has been widely questioned throughout the world and is already prohibited in Australia and the European Union, and prohibited in the United States by the egg industry’s animal husbandry program.
FACTS: Starvation force molting dramatically increases the risk of hens’ laying salmonella-infected eggs. India’s factory farms confine 140 to 200 million hens in barren battery cages, where each bird lives within a space smaller than a single standard sized sheet of paper.
Hotels including Crowne Plaza Today-Gurgaon, Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai, as well as specialty restaurant Hao Shi Nian Nian and celebrity Chef Mako Ravindran have ended their procurement of eggs from caged hens.